Marriage Ain’t Easy

Hi Friends,

I feel a little guilty for telling you about what was happening with my marriage, and then telling you I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

The reality is: it’s just hard and I was afraid of judgement…so I decided that while everything was so raw I needed to keep it quietly to myself.

BUT… I do want to share with you…because you supported me even when I was sharing my worst, and because you continue to come back even though I’ve stopped talking about it, and it because it really is therapeutic.

So here’s where we are at:

Marriage counselling is wonderful…truly life changing. Our counselor, PL, is amazing and wise and funny and exactly what we need as we navigate this very tricky path.

Our first few sessions with him were about the dirty details. We went through the events, as they unfolded, and how we felt. We went through our histories and our childhoods. We expressed all of our negative emotions and shared how it made us feel. These sessions were so, so hard and so, so emotional (I shed A LOT of tears). He asked us difficult questions, and we gave difficult answers. It was the most challenging time…but also the most relieving: everything was finally out in the open and there were no more secrets. At the end of each appointment he gave us a simple task (go on one date and only talk about your favourite things, go see a movie together and dress up for it, go for a walk in the woods, etc).

Then he sat us down and we had the most difficult conversation of all. He explained that our marriage could not go back to the way it was, it was forever changed and if we wanted to go forward together we would need to build something new together, fall back in love, and start over. He made it so clear that we both had a choice to make – to stay or go, and we it was time to make that choice. This was the most emotional conversation, but we both whole heartedly agreed that we wanted to start over and move forward, together: married.

And so we are working on that. Carefully and intentionally rebuilding our marriage, and our life, and falling in love with each other all over again. PL is exactly right – we are different people now…and our relationship and our marriage is different now. The biggest challenge, for me, was letting go of what was, and past hurts, and moving forward. Through that, though, we’ve learned to speak our minds – honestly and openly, always. Even if it might anger the other. We’ve learned more about each other in the last 2 months than we had in the past 8 years. Open communication has been the biggest and best change we’ve made so far…and comes with just one rule: we are never, ever mean. We say what is on our minds, but only if it’s truthful and not hurtful. Through being kind to each other, I find being supportive, respectful and loving just comes naturally….and those are all the things I want my marriage to be.

I don’t want to paint a rosy picture that isn’t truthful: everything above is true, but it is also incredibly hard, emotional, messy and I am still sometimes so angry. I am working very hard at forgiveness…but it is not coming easily. All of the changes we have made did not happen overnight or easily, and came with immense effort on both of our parts. (Our lack of children has actually been a huge blessing right now, because it enables us to dedicate all of our time to this.) But we have learned just how strong we are, just how capable we are, and just how much we love each other – and those lessons are invaluable. I have learned so much about myself, about Mr. Big, and about us as a couple over the last few months and I look forward to the future so much now. We truly feel like we are on the right path, and that things are looking up.

In all this, what’s shocked me the most is how difficult marriage really is. We watch movies and shows, and it seems like marriage should just be effortless – something that just works or it doesn’t. But that’s not true at all, marriage requires a huge amount of effort – every single day for your entire life. You will always have to work to have a good marriage, but if the marriage is good then it will always be worth it.

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Building Mastery

Back when I was in University, in one of my Psych. classes we talked a lot about the different types of therapy (CBT, DBT, etc).

One of the things that stuck out in my mind from DBT was “Building Mastery” – which is, essentially, when you have something really hard to do that you don’t want to do and you do it anyway.

It could be something as simple as riding city transit when you have agoraphobia, or speaking in front of a room full of strangers when public speaking makes you want to hurl. At the end of said experience, you feel a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a bit of pride in yourself for doing it even though you were terrified – that is the essence of building mastery.

This concept has stuck with me through the years because it is one I experience regularly as a person with OCD. Every time I resist the urge to wash my hands, which is very difficult for me, and touch the railing anyway – that is building mastery (albeit on a small scale). It’s chipping away a bit of the old self, encrusted in fear and anxiety, and revealing the shiny, strong, newness underneath.

Yesterday I did something so incredibly difficult for myself, that I spent the last two weeks *literally* sick as I dreaded it. I knew I needed to do it, I wanted to do it, but I was absolutely terrified to do it.  I had an appointment with someone who absolutely, completely, terrified me to address something I have ignored for 20 years. I stood outside the door the building for more than 20 minutes, fighting with myself on whether I was actually going to go in or turn and run, praying for strength, and shaking like a leaf. It was the hardest thing I have done in a long, long time (perhaps ever). Twice in the meeting I resisted the urge to flee…but as I used every ounce of my strength to remain, and hash out what needed to be hashed out. As the appointment continued, I felt myself slowly open up and began to settle. In that 45 minutes I grew as a person…and I left there SO thankful that I went, and am still so glad I stuck it out. It was so, so worth it…and will lead to so many beautiful, wonderful things.

But you guys, getting there was almost impossible. But I did it, and I am SO glad and SO proud of myself for doing it. That’s what building mastery is…getting a little bit closer to the person you were meant to be, through doing the things that challenge you most.

Have you ever heard of building mastery? Do you have anything like this in your life that needs to be done, but you’ve avoided because of fear or denial?

See Ya 2017

To recap:

  1. I read a lot of books
  2. Took a handful of trips – although none of them out of country (sometimes, that’s OK!)
  3. Tried some new things:
    • Ice fishing rental weekend
    • A week in the mountains skiing
    • Discovering Win.ners (I know, where the eff have I been)
    • Mastering the homemade baileys recipe
    • A hundred new recipes
    • I discovered Mr. Big can COOK
    • First time at the Christmas Market
    • Tried a supplement concoction that is actually helping my PCOS
    • Discovered the benefits (and the hazards) of Chiropractics
  4. I rekindled an old friendship and am so glad I did
  5. I made a shit-ton of memories
  6. Had my heart completely broken

It’s been a trying year: some good, some bad, lots of laughs and a little more cries than I normally like. But overall, I don’t consider it a bad year. It’s brought us our very biggest obstacle yet, and to say we’ve figured it out would be a lie: but we are working very, very hard at it and learning so very much in the process.

I am happy to close up 2017 and move into 2018. The last few months have been the hardest yet – and while things are getting better every day, the pain of those few months will be etched into the end of 2017 for a long time.

Thank you to my friends, my readers, who followed through even though it got a little messy this year. Thank you for your support and kindness when I needed it most. I have so enjoyed watching your lives unfold – and all of the good things that have happened this year makes me so happy. And please always know that I am there for the sad things too, grieving with you.

Thank you all! I hope you all have a wonderful New Years – and bring in 2018 with your loved ones and nothing but hope and light.

 

Baby Showers Suck

I kind of alluded in my Monday post to an awkward baby shower on Sunday…here are the details.

In the past, I have handled baby showers quite well…but now I’m over 30 (my previous deadline to be done child bearing and I haven’t even begun), and it’s been 6 years of failure after failure…and my patience for these things is running out really fast.

On Sunday I had a baby shower for my cousin, who is 21 and also a PCOS sufferer. Unlike me, she had every classic symptom of PCOS and was pretty much told she would struggle immensely to have children. She was only 18 when she found out, and I was a support for her through the initial diagnosis. She wasn’t planning on having children until over 30, so she wasn’t worried at all. I worried enough for both of us … knowing she likely had a hard road ahead of her.

Imagine my surprise when she announced she had accidentally gotten pregnant with her on again-off again boyfriend (they just had sex ONE TIME and bam, pregnant). Add with that the fact that neither she, nor her boyfriend, have jobs or go to school and they live in a room in her Mom’s already overcrowded house. Fast forward 7 months – they still do not have jobs, and are not trying to get jobs, and still live with her Mother in one tiny room too small for their bed and a crib. There has been zero preparation for this babies arrival. At the shower on Sunday, she announced that the first sleeper she was given was the very first sleeper she had for the baby…who is due in just 6 weeks. She was given a bassinet by her Aunt and Uncle, and she said she is so relieved because that is the only bed for the baby – and hopefully he won’t grow out of it for a couple years because there is no space for a bigger bed (a couple YEARS…babies grow out of bassinets in a couple months!).

I am trying SO HARD not to judge, but you guys…I’m JUDGING.

 

Add onto all of that – they had this stupid game where cupcakes were baked, and one had a baby inside. Whoever got the baby was the next new Mama, and got a prize plus was given the hat they made from the ribbons and bows (as a kind of “passing of the torch”).

Naturally, I avoided this game like the plague. I knew I couldn’t handle it.

My Mom and sisters didn’t, though, so OF COURSE my Mom was the one to get the stupid baby. The hostess then announced it must be a grandchild, and every looked at me because neither of my sisters want more kids.

Cue the intelligent, kind women I know turning into blubbering, baby starved fools. There were comments “When ARE you going to get pregnant?”, or “It’s about time…you’ve been married HOW long?” and my personal favourite “Enjoy your social life, sleeping in and quiet house now because babies change everything!”…followed by knowing giggles and belly pokes. They didn’t seem to mind that I am not actually pregnant nor the fact that a stupid game of luck doesn’t determine when or if I will ever get pregnant.

I bailed immediately after. I didn’t even say goodbye to anyone, and I didn’t take the stupid ribbon hat.

I think I will stay home from baby showers going forward.

Do you go to baby showers? What are some tricks/tips you use to get through them?

 

Final Reconciliation Update

If you’re not sure what’s going on…see here and here for the back story.

I didn’t realize it’s been 23 days since I last posted (with the exception of one #microblog post). I’m sorry for the radio silence… to be honest, I’m still in the thick of everything and while I sat down and wrote at least 10 posts in that time, I couldn’t make myself post them.

The reality is … I’m struggling with my decision to share on here. I am not really sorry I did it, but at the same time – I am wishing I hadn’t. I am realizing that I wanted this to be therapeutic for me, but it’s actually not been therapeutic at all (for multiple reasons). I am actually now insecure in this space, and that is the very last thing I want because I love this space, and the community I am a part of.  I really, really miss writing here.

So… I think this will be my last post on this topic.

Please know we are working very hard at our marriage, have made some huge strides and are actually at a fairly good place right now. We will continue to work towards a common goal, with the aid of our wonderful therapist. Our family building plans are changing rapidly…our therapist has advised us we should give it a year before we adopt – so that child can have the very best home to come in to. The infertile-in-me is disappointed, but logically, I completely understand his point. In the mean time, we may try the old fashioned way (in a few months) or we may not…I’m not sure yet. Time will tell, and the thing we most need right now is time.

Thank you all for your kind, thoughtful, caring words on my posts. I wish I had a way of showing you how much it meant to me – to receive acceptance and love in such a shitty time has been everything, and I thank you a thousand times over for it. This is another reason to love this wonderful community!

Much Love – Raven

P.S: Happy Thanksgiving American Friends!

#Microblogmondays – This.Is.Us

As per usual, I am one season behind the train on good shows. You guys, I JUST discovered This.Is.Us. Do you watch it? It is changing my world.

Let me rewind …this happened, followed by this. I know – even I can’t quite believe I shared something so difficult and intimate with all of you…but really, isn’t that what blogging is about? Oversharing in the hopes of helping/connecting with someone else? And I needed to write about it because…whether I like it or not this IS my life now, and this blog is about sharing my life: the good, the bad and the downright ugly (and this is ugly!). In the wake of this I was desperately looking for something to act as a distraction while I pieced together what remained of my marriage…and somehow I stumbled upon this show I have heard so much about.

I am in love with it. I love the characters, the I love the writing, I love the way each episodes unfolds to show a deeper, more complex layer of each character. I love how real, and normal, and entirely human they are. I love how easy it is to relate to it, and I love how emotional the show is. I pretty much love everything about it, even the cheesiness. It could not have come at a better time in my life.

Do you watch it? What do you think? What good shows are you watching right now?

Find more about MicroblogMondays here.

 

 

Reconciliation #1

I am sharing these posts with the permission of my husband, as a way to cope with what is happening in my life and in the hopes that maybe, somehow, they will help someone else. 

Reconciliation: that is what it’s called when you have a rift in your marriage (usually, but not always, caused by infidelity), and decide to work it out.

That is what our whole life is about now. Everything we do, we do with the intention to repair and rebuild our marriage. It has not been easy. It’s been miserable to learn the little things we have been doing have actually been hurting the other, and we did not even know it. It has been horrible to feel the hurt and the anger, and yet still love them and want to be with them.

The biggest thing is the way we handle stress. When I am under stress, I retreat into myself and hide behind a good book or TV show that I’m binge watching. Eventually, when I start to feel better, I go back to life as normal without ever needing to discuss it in depth with Mr. Big. My subconscious does all of the sorting out for me, and I move on.

When he is under stress, he needs to talk it out, rehash, look at ways to resolve or handle differently. He needs to go out and visit with friends, have some fun, etc. He needs to be around people and talking about it in order to feel better: and then he can move on.

See where there might be a problem here? Especially given that our whole life is stress as we struggle to build our family.

While I was busy burying myself and my problems in a good book, he was feeling isolated and alone in his sadness and frustration. Months of this = big rift between us and even bigger problems.

I want to add that we genuinely didn’t know we had a problem….we have always had a good marriage. We are best friends, who laugh and play together often. We are very affectionate, and very much in love. None of this changed in the time leading up to, and during, the infidelity…which is why it came as such a horrible shock to me. We have always been good at those things, but not so good at talking about our feelings together…which really is the basis of a solid marriage.

And that’s the very core of our problem: my need to not talk about feelings vs. his need to talk about them.

So…what am I feeling? I’m feeling angry. I’ve moved past the sadness, shock and hurt now – and right into anger. I am furious with him for hurting me, for betraying my trust and our vows. I am furious that he reached outside our marriage for comfort, when I was right there in front of him. I am furious that he did not respect me, and our marriage, enough to talk to me about how he was feeling. I am furious that I cannot trust him any more.

Yet…I still love him. I cannot un-love him for this: 8 years of happiness and love cannot be undone by 1 month of stupidity and selfishness. I am angry and I will need a lot of time (and a lot of effort) to recover – but I will recover, our marriage will recover, and we will move forward.